“Invisible” disabilities : identity management and well-being in college students
May 10, 2011
Department or Program
The present study aimed to quantify relationships between internal and external identity management and well-being in individuals with two types of invisible disabilities: learning disabilities and a history of mental health problems. Participants were 111 college students (ages 18-52; 64% women) recruited via email lists who self-identified as having an invisible disability. Participants completed surveys measuring levels of internal identification with disability, outness about the disability, self-esteem, and self-determination. Correlational analysis revealed significant relationships between dis-identification with disability and both self-esteem and self-determination in students with invisible disabilities(p＜.001, p = .006, respectively). The results highlight the stigmatizing effects of diagnostic labels for students with invisible disabilities and the need for a multidimensional scale to measure identification with disability.